If the TV coverage of this morning’s inaugural Qantas A380 departure from Melbourne to Los Angeles is a good guide the fully laden jet took off in 23-25 seconds. That is incredibly prompt for a jet with all 450 seats occupied for a 14 hour flight. The Boeing 747-400s the bigger jet replaces could never get airborne with a full load in that time, and were always stuck at lower altitudes for hours while the fuel load diminished, robbing them of cruise time at higher and more economical flight levels.

So what? Well, Qantas now has a jet than can actually make serious money flying much fuller loads on the Melbourne-Los Angeles route, especially on the return leg against perennial headwinds. Over 100 more passengers than the 744s for the same total fuel burn.

Of course this means we can all stop paying the Ned Kelly fares that Qantas collects on the trans Pacific routes and Singapore Airlines will stop insisting that unless it gets the right to fly its A380s between Australia and America we will continue to be robbed.

In our dreams.

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